What prompted Moshe to ask to see Hashem's Kavod - which had no connection with the current situation?
Rashi: When he saw that it was a time of goodwill, that his requests were being accepted, he took advantage of Hashem's benevolence and asked for that, too. 1
Hadar Zekenim (14), Da'as Zekenim (!5): I.e. he asked to hear and see Hashem's honor.
Rashbam: As Hashem did with Avraham at the B'ris bein ha'Besarim (See Bereishis 15:8,17, 18]). Here too, Hashem acquiesced to Moshe's request (See below, 34:6, 10).
Rashbam: He would not have dared to ask to benefit from the glory of the Shechinah - as we find by the Burning Bush (3:6), where the Torah praises him for hiding his face and declining to look at the Shechinah. (The Rashbam does not seem to explain Hashem's refusal to show Moshe His Face. (EC) Refer to 33:23:2:2.)
What exactly, did Moshe want Hashem to show him?
Rashi, Ramban, Targum Onkelos and Targum Yonasan: He wanted to see the Shechinah in all its glory. 1
Rashbam Refer to 33:18:1:2.
Seforno: He asked Hashem to show him how He bestows existence upon all His creations from His own Existence, in spite of the huge gap between Hashem and His creations.
Moshav Zekenim: He wanted to see the form over the Kisei ha'Kavod, and all Maaseh Merkavah,
Moshav Zekenim citing the Rosh: He wanted to see Hashem's honor through a clear glass.
Moshav Zekenim (19): He wanted to see the form of Hashem's honor that He will send with Yisrael.
With a clear vision (Ispaklarya ha'Me'irah [Ramban]).
Moshe did not want to look at the Shechinah at the Burning Bush (above, 3:6). Why did he ask here to see?
Moshav Zekenim citing R. Yeshayah: Then, Moshe did not rely on himself. Here, he had already conducted with the Shechinah, and relied on his own.
Rashbam He did not ask here to see! Refer to 33:18:1:2.
Moshe was the greatest prophet. Why did he ask for something impossible? If it were possible, Hashem would have bestowed it on the faithful [servant] of His house!
Moshav Zekenim citing R. Yeshayah: It was impossible in one way, and possible in another way, Moshe could not see Pnei Hashem, but he could see from the back.
Moshav Zekenim (19, citing R. Yosef): Moshe thought that after being so long on Har Sinai without eating, he was like an angel.